Singapore Night Song

Where no owl cries its kill above city blocks
and the moon does not dominate
a night landscape
Stars are as bright as stree lights allow.

Headlamps and meta colours,
horns and exhausts, car bumpers:
The traffic is the only other animal awake.

Walk past the Merlion,
spotlighted to an edifice
feel beneath shows, sidewalk trees shrug
off cement with roots,
and outside the concert hall,
where no concert is being staged,
hear the american top ten
spill from a walkman.

You know, nearby, people
relish a bite of satay
and maybe a walk after,
that the sun over the telephone wires
and sparrows with their gutter songs
will eventually come;
but neither horizons nor thrushes.

If you cannot learn to love
(yes love) this city
you have no other.

by Simon Tay
from 5 (1985)